Whether this is your first Disney vacation or fifteenth there are still moments you leave your vacation saying, “gee that was a mistake.” Well, take a few lessons from me and avoid making these common Disney vacation mistakes. These are based on real life experiences from yours truly. Now you can skip over making mistakes and head straight to non stop fun on your next Disney World vacation.
Overpaying for Disney Park Tickets
These days Disney World park tickets are super expensive and it’s hard to get any major discount on them. However, we have spent time researching for you on where to get the best Disney Park Deals. For all the secrets on ticket saving tips read our Discount Disney World Tickets guide. It covers which authorized Disney resellers you can trust, what scams to watch out for and step by step on how to do the Disney gift card hack!
Picking the Wrong Time to Visit
Crowds seem to be the normal at Disney World these days. The times of year that used to be dead, like October, are now one of the busiest times at Disney World. If you are wondering what the crowds may look like when you are planning your trip just read our Disney Crowd Calendar!
Not Buying Tickets in Advance
Thinking of waiting until you arrive to pick up your tickets? Please don’t! The lines at the ticket windows get crazy long and you are going to end up wasting valuable park time just waiting to get your ticket. Buying tickets online is easy and convenient and saves you a ton of time.
Also, if you don’t get your ticket in advance then you can’t book your Fastpasses in advance. This is a huge downside but more details to come on that later.
Not Adding the Park Hopper Option
Skipping over the Disney park hopper option is one of my tips for saving money at Disney World but it does come at a cost. Skipping a park hopper limits you to one park per day and requires planning a head of time. Why? Well during certain times of the year like Halloween for example the Magic Kingdom will close at 7 pm for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This would be a bad day to pick to go to the Magic Kingdom as you would not see any fireworks and miss out on the quieter evening hours when the lines can get shorter.
It’s best to asses what you and your family expect to do during the trip, maybe with young ones you just can’t do a full park day and it just doesn’t matter. Remember to always keep your family in mind!
Forgetting to Make Fastpass+ Reservations
Fastpasses are popular at Disney World and they do sell out. The big rides like Flight of Passage, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, and Frozen Ever After often have no day of or even week of available times. If you want to skip the lines at these rides which often are at over an hour wait times we recommend booking your Fastpasses 60 days out if you are a hotel guest or 30 days out if you aren’t.
For more fastpass+ tips read, Best Disney Fastpass Picks for Each Park and Fastpass+ Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make and also Disney Rides you Should Never Make a Fastpass For.
Not Learning Park Layout
If you have never been to Disney World before it’s a good idea to look over the lay of the land before you arrive. Being lost can lose you valuable park time or make it so you miss that Fastpass+ window. All four Disney World theme parks are big and you’re not going to get everything sorted on your first trip but it’s still a good idea to at least have a general idea of your bearings. Also, check out bathroom locations and restaurant locations where you have booked reservations.
How do you find a map of each Disney Park? Well you can download the My Disney Experience app on your phone and start exploring. Or Disney provides some awesome interactive maps on their website.
Not Arriving at Park Open
This is the best time to head to the parks! It’s not pretty common to want to wake up early on your vacation. However, the reward for waking up early is great. At park open the wait times are next to nothing, the crowds are lighter and Fastpass+ hasn’t started slowing any wait times down yet. You can even jump in the parks extra early by scheduling a breakfast inside the park before park open! Once 11 am hits at Disney World it’s typically the start of the busiest hours at all the parks and a key time to schedule you Fastpass+ reservations for. Don’t forget to factor in the travel time to park.
Trying to do too Much
Unless you plan on staying at Disney World for a month you just aren’t going to be able to do it all in one trip. So make a list of what’s most important for you to accomplish over the course of the trip and then plan out each day of your trip. Also, don’t restrict yourself to not stop and enjoy the street entertainers and cast tourist interactions. Lucky you we actually have some great freebies to help you plan such a thing. You can get our FREE Printable Disney Daily Vacation Planner and FREE Disney Packing List.
Overpaying for Food
There are so many fantastic ways to save money food at Disney World. You can split a meal, use an annual pass discount, get the Tables in Wonderland savings card, or eat your sit down meals at lunch instead of dinner. For all the specifics read How to Save Money When Eating at Disney.
Paying for the Disney Dining Plan
Sorry all you Disney Dining Plan lovers out there, I just find making the cost of this program worth it, too hard. In order to get your money’s worth out of the Disney Dining Plan you need to eat at all the most expensive places and order the most expensive menu item! The plan also assumes that you will eat at a sit down restaurant every day. This limits you on getting what you want and while it’s convenient the dining plan is just too over priced. I suggest that you just set aside the cost of the dining plan in your budget, so you have planned for the expense – you will most likely spend less!
Stay safe and don’t get burnt! I have fallen victim to this one myself and a sunburn can really ruin your trip. The worst was when I burnt the top of my feet after an afternoon at the pool and having to put shoes on the next day and run around the parks. Remember, if like you don’t live in a southern state the sun here in Florida is far more intense than what you are used to back home. It’s a good idea to play it safe and lather up before you start your day in the park.
Now a days with continuous spray sunscreen it’s very easy. It also can’t hurt to pick up a smaller sunscreen that you can throw in your park bag. I take along a sunscreen stick since I am pale as all get out and don’t want to take up valuable bag space.
Wearing the Wrong Shoes on your Disney Vacation
At Disney World you have a lot of walking to do! So you are going to want some comfy shoes on those feet! It’s hard to tell you exactly what to wear since every person is different and the time of year matters. I see people, including my husband wear flip-flops for a full park day. Normally for me I would get blisters and my feet would tire due to a lack of support. Though on shorter length park summer days I often wear my favorite flip flops. Why? Well my feet swell in the heat and I have unlimited room in flip-flops plus when that summer rain hits my flip-flops dry super fast!
For my complete shoe recommended list check out The Best Shoes to Wear at Walt Disney World.
Not reading more of my blog posts for more good ideas!
I am working hard to pack this website with fantastic tips and tricks so you can have a magical vacation. Signing up for our newsletter and stopping in once and awhile are always great ways to find new Disney World tips. If you ever have any questions about Disney vacation planning stop in our private Facebook group or simply send me an email. I am always happy to help : )
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!